By Alison Bellamy
BUSINESS leaders are celebrating a brighter future for Dewsbury, following an announcement which could see the town centre undergo a £200m improvement boost over the next decade.
The town is set to be revitalised, with neglected areas overhauled and improved, as the much-needed investment from Kirklees Council begins to be rolled out.
And ahead of the changes a massive spring clean is set to take place in and around the town centre, with volunteers from Dewsbury Forward planting and sprucing up the shopping areas.
Coun Eric Firth (Lab, Dewsbury East), chairman of Dewsbury Forward which works alongside Dewsbury Chamber of Trade, said it was big news for the town.
He said: “On behalf of shops and businesses at the heart of the town, we are feeling more positive about the future. Things are starting to happen.
“Plans for the Arcade to open up again are wonderful and will see shops with tenants which will hopefully become an attraction for the town. Alongside the market upgrade and a town centre park, there is a lot to look forward to.”
He said there were many buildings in the town that had been neglected and shut up for too many years and had become major eyesores.
The Arcade – which has remained closed and fallen into disrepair for several years – will be repaired and the shop units open once more, as Kirklees Council purchases the premises from the landlord.
Highlights of the plans include a new bus station, market overhaul, a pedestrianised Longcauseway and town park, plus new office premises for 750 council staff.
Daisy Hill will become a mainly residential area, plus a revamp of Empire House will take place.
Coun Firth added: “The Arcade will now remain forever in the hands of Kirklees, as will Pioneer House, which is due to open in September as Dewsbury College’s New Pioneer Higher Skills Centre.
“Two historic buildings have been saved from dereliction by the council who are determined to protect our listed buildings and ensure they remain in the hands of local people.
“No longer will absent landlords take ownership of these buildings.
“It is a new dawn for Dewsbury - the first step to realising the long-term vision which Kirklees Council has made possible.”
• What do you think of the council's Dewsbury Blueprint? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your views.